The Beckett Blog

Box Busters: 2010 Topps USA Baseball set by Chris Olds
January 6, 2011, 6:40 pm
Filed under: Topps, USA Baseball | Tags: , ,

Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2010 Topps USA Baseball sets in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

In The Game teases collectors with photos from its first baseball product by Susan Lulgjuraj

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

In August, In The Game announced it was putting together its first baseball card set.

It’s been a while since we heard from them, but that’s because the company has been hard at work. Initially, the set was to be released this month, but was delayed until January as they put together the final touches.

In The Game is putting out a new product for a new year.

The company released teaser photos recently for 2011 Heroes and Prospects Baseball Hits. Series 1 is planned to be out in January with Series 2 scheduled to be released in March.

See more photos after the jump.

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First look: 2010 Topps USA Baseball boxed set by Chris Olds
October 18, 2010, 3:56 pm
Filed under: Topps, USA Baseball | Tags: , , ,

By Chris Olds | Editor

Collectors wanting to know more about Topps‘ foray into USA Baseball territory got a glimpse of what is in store for this year’s Red, White & Blue boxed set.

But — because of amateur athlete eligibility rules — collectors didn’t get much besides the box to look at.

(Athletes’ images cannot be used in conjunction with promotion of the fund-raising product.)

But what we do know is that each set will include 65 base cards of this year’s USA Baseball squads along with five autographed cards, two autographed Relic cards and three Relic cards per box. There also will be printing plates, according to pre-sell materials.

The base set’s player checklist is confirmed, while the entire autograph and Relic checklists are still listed as TBD.

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Bryce Harper Superfractor sale confirmed at $12,500 by Chris Olds

The season started with a high-profile SuperFractor sale from 2010 Bowman and it’s winding down with one as well.

The Bryce Harper USA Baseball 1/1 from the overwhelmingly popular prospecting line has sold and was confirmed as a $12,500 purchase on eBay, emulating the other high-profile Washington Nationals sale of earlier this year — the $21,403 Stephen Strasburg.

This time, though, the card took a little more time on the auction block before actually selling — it was listed five times, according to original owner Earnest Clinton — before it was purchased by Aaron Marcus of Long Island, N.Y.

“I am not going to sell the card, as I want it for my personal collection,” Marcus said on Tuesday. “I might consider selling some of the other Bryces that I own someday, though.”

Among the other cards of the 17-year-old Nationals prospect in his collection are Refractors of a couple different rare shades.

“I also own Bryce’s Bowman Chrome USA Red Refractor (numbered out of five) as a BGS 9.5,” he said, “as well an Orange Refractor (numbered out of 25).”

So what was it that attracted him to the Harper?

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Topps fills in 2010 Bowman Draft Picks autograph checklist — but there’s no Bryce Harper … yet by Chris Olds
September 15, 2010, 4:40 pm
Filed under: Beckett Media, MLB, Topps, USA Baseball | Tags: , , , , , ,

When Topps released its 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects preliminary checklist recently, it appeared that “The Home of the Rookie Card” was populated by one not-so-popular player named TBD — To Be Determined.

While TBD still exists in its lineup, the lone fully licensed manufacturer of Major League Baseball cards released an updated version of the checklist for the always anticipated prospect-laden product, helping soothe the concerns of prospectors buying in bulk, hoping to bank on the big-name prospects with the most promise inside those heavily broken mylar wrappers.

While the biggest name of them all — Bryce Harper — is still nowhere to be found — not even on an Aflac autograph as he has apparently not yet signed — Topps has confirmed the following players for Bowman Draft as Chrome Autograph Prospects:
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USA Baseball deal lets Topps present top prospects earlier than ever by Chris Olds

To collectors of USA Baseball cards this is nothing new, but Topps touted its crop of top 2011 draft picks that can already be found in its upcoming 2010 Bowman sets because of its deal as the exclusive manufacturer of USA cards.

Oh, and it also offered on Friday a sneak peek at the first USA Baseball cards for this year’s teams, which will be all over upcoming sets.

Here’s the info, straight from Topps:

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The hobby’s biggest story in years gets bigger — Stephen Strasburg needs Tommy John surgery by Chris Olds


Anyone who doubts Stephen Strasburg‘s place in the hobby in 2010 hasn’t been paying attention to the stat sheets.

You know, his numbers on the field — and the sales of his baseball cards.

However, the biggest story in baseball in years got a little bit bigger on Friday morning as a Washington Nationals official said the highly touted hard-throwing right-handed rookie likely needs Tommy John surgery — ligament replacement in his right elbow. That means we may not see him on an MLB mound until 2012.

Cynics saw Strasburg’s high level of success on the field and predicted a downfall eventually — though one has to wonder where that particularly came from as he has been absolutely dominant in college and the minor leagues before becoming the spectacle of all spectacles in the big leagues this season. You can’t argue with his numbers — they were there and had been enough to justify his being the No. 1 pick, which came with a hefty $15-million record-setting contract.

However, one can never predict injuries — and the cynics got what they wanted; a quick downfall this season, an end to the biggest story MLB has had — especially when reflected on cardboard — in years. Some say Strasburg’s arrival challenges the impact of the arrivals of Ichiro Suzuki and Albert Pujols in 2001, but I’d say it might surpass them both and go even further back.

Now what, though? Let’s assess Strasburg’s performance as we look forward …

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Famous Fabrics Second Edition Impresses — Without a License by Tracy Hackler

What In The Game patriarch Dr. Brian Price lacks in big-time league licensing, he more than makes up for by continuing to push the creative envelope when it comes to high-end multisport, multi-generational products.

For the latest case in point, look no further than Famous Fabrics Second Edition, a simply majestic memorabilia-card marvel from Price’s Creative Cardboard Concepts label due to drop next week at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore.

Devoid of player photography and the always-welcomed stamp of approval that player and league licensing affords, the product manages to sparkle anyway thanks to the historic nature of its content and the innovative high points of its development.

The checklist alone is arguably the most comprehensive ever assembled in terms of sports and eras touched. No less than 20 sports or disciplines are represented (the big four plus mixed martial arts, golf, boxing, soccer, horse racing, poker, professional wrestling, auto racing, bicycling, gymnastics, tennis, volleyball, swimming, ice skating, coaching, announcing and even dare-deviling). The fact that Price and his people even managed to acquire memorabilia for such a far-reaching roster is a commendable feat in and of itself.

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What does the future hold for the Bryce Harper SuperFractor? by Chris Olds

The Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor from 2010 Bowman seems to be getting all of the attention these days — and rightly so when it has generated sales of $16,400 and $25,000 — but there’s one other SuperFractor in the product that could give it a run for its prospecting money.

That’s the Bryce Harper card.

While Strasburg is the talk of the town in Washington, D.C., the 17-year-old Harper is the player who might be doing the same in a year or two.

And his SuperFractor was found by Ernest Clinton, a long-time collector from Hopewell Junction, N.Y.

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FREE STUFF FRIDAY (6-11) — A red hot and not-even-out-yet edition by Chris Olds

We’re back with another Free Stuff Friday — and it’s a small but strong offering for the baseball collectors who paid attention to the Washington Nationals this week.

How can you win? Click on the links below and follow the directions…

No. 1 — A Bryce Harper 2010 USA Baseball card

No. 2 — A Stephen Strasburg 2010 Bowman baseball card

No. 3 — A 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter box (courtesy of

***NOW CLOSED*** FREE STUFF FRIDAY (6-11) Contest No. 1 — A Bryce Harper USA Baseball card by Chris Olds

We’re back with another Free Stuff Friday — our weekly ritual where we try and get some cool stuff into the hands of our readers just for answering some simple card-related trivia.

How can you win? Follow the directions below and answer the questions below in a comment right here …  it’s that simple.

Tips: Don’t try stuffing the comments box — we’ll check IP addresses — and make sure to include your name and email address so you can be contacted if you win.

Get the question(s) after the jump …

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USA Baseball records strong showing on first day of draft by Chris Olds

USA Baseball cards.

The dedicated prospectors who are fans of baseball — moreso than just Chrome and dollar signs — know their value, their place in the collecting game.

But on Monday evening the USA Baseball devotees like me who have an affinity for a player’s first baseball card — period — had something to point back at others who eschew the red, white and blue classics as being more minor-league material when it comes to cardboard.

Eight of the top 10 picks in the 2010 MLB Draft were USA Baseball alumni. After that, there were seven more USA Baseball alums taken as first-round or first-round supplemental picks.

And for the ninth year out of the last 10, the No. 1 pick has donned the red, white and blue with many having a baseball card well before making the bigs.

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Bryce Harper’s latest baseball card a Rocky Mountain gem by Chris Olds

Update: There has been a price change since this story was published.

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball

The JUCO World Series began on Saturday with 10 NJCAA divisional championship-winning teams squaring off in a bracket-style tournament high in the Rocky Mountains.

But one player, perhaps more than most, is known among those playing in Grand Junction, Colo., (population 53,662) this week. You might have heard of this member of the Region XVIII champion College of Southern Nevada Coyotes as he’s expected to be the No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball draft on Monday.

He’s 17-year-old Sports Illustrated and Beckett Baseball coverboy Bryce Harper. (How impressive has his play been this season? Click here…)

And it’s only in Grand Junction — well, there’s one other place, but we’ll get to that — where fans can find Harper’s latest baseball card, one that will cost collectors a whopping $5 to obtain him and the rest of his teammates.

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***NOW CLOSED*** FREE STUFF FRIDAY (4-2) Contest No. 8 — A 2005 Clayton Kershaw & Shawn Tolleson dual-autographed USA Baseball card by Chris Olds

We’re back with another Free Stuff Friday our weekly ritual where we try and get some cool stuff into the hands of our readers just for answering some simple card-related trivia.

How can you win? Follow the directions below and answer the questions below in a comment right here …  it’s that simple.

Tips: Don’t try stuffing the comments box — we’ll check IP addresses — and make sure to include your name and email address so you can be contacted if you win. (Also note that you will see your comment on your screen after posting but that does not indicate its order of posting as it has not yet been approved. WordPress’ time-stamping of comments once all are approved will determine the winner.)

Get the question(s) after the jump …

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Topps details its USA Baseball plans by Chris Olds
March 4, 2010, 10:32 am
Filed under: MLB, Topps, USA Baseball | Tags: , , , , , ,

Topps detailed its plans on Thursday for the USA Baseball cards to be included in 2010 Bowman — just a day after its licensing acquisition was publicly announced.

The forthcoming 2010 Bowman set will include the 2009 National Team and 2009 18U Team on a Bowman Chrome insert set. This will be the lone inclusion for the 2009 teams in Topps products as future releases will have future squads depicted.

The cards will be found one in every four packs and include the following parallels:

Refractor  — numbered to 750.

Blue Refractor — numbered to 250.

Gold Refractor — numbered to 50.

Orange Refractor — numbered to 25.

Red Refractor — numbered to 5. Hobby-only

Super-Fractor — numbered 1/1. Hobby-only

Printing Plates — numbered 1/1. Jumbo-only

Get the checklist after the jump.

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Breaking news: Topps lands license for USA Baseball cards by Chris Olds
March 3, 2010, 2:05 pm
Filed under: MLB, Topps, USA Baseball | Tags: , ,

Topps announced on Wednesday that it is now the official baseball card manufacturer for USA Baseball.

The deal is an exclusive multi-year licensing agreement that adds to a Topps portfolio already including exclusives for Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball. As the official card of USA Baseball, Topps will have the lone rights to USA Baseball trademarks,logos and other intellectual property for use on cards of USA Baseball players.

The deal includes cards, autographs and game-used equipment from USA Baseball’s Collegiate, 18U and 16U National Team players to be featured in a variety of Topps products each year. The first Topps set to include USA Baseball players this year will be 2010 Bowman, which arrives in May.

“Twenty-five years after collectors were first introduced to USA Baseball, our organization is pleased to have Topps, the industry leader, return as the exclusive home for USA Baseball trading cards,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO.  “We look forward to working closely with Topps as together we provide collectors with a look at the future of America’s game on trading cards.”

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Box Busters: 2009-10 USA Baseball box set by Chris Olds

Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they open two sets of 2009-10 USA Baseball cards.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out … and one sweet card they find can be yours in a future issue of Beckett Baseball.

Box Busters: 2009 Upper Deck Signature Stars baseball cards by Chris Olds

Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they dig into a box of 2009 Signature Stars baseball cards from Upper Deck in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.

Also watch to find out a question we want our viewers to answer in the comments below…